Some of my favorite moments of pandemic viewing have been delivered with a strong dose of nostalgia. Mid 2020, I fought back some serious quarantine boredom by following Linda Ronstadt down memory lane. And I can promise that the new Bee Gees documentary provides a joyful lift out of the disturbing politics of early 2021.
My generation grew up with the songs written by these superstars as background noise. I never paid a lot of attention to the lives of pop stars – not because I was a music snob, but because it wasn’t my inclination to do more than bop along. Both Ronstadt and the Gibbs’ musical careers are nothing short of miraculous, even set against today’s social media supercharged metrics. More impressive? Each survived decades in the business, surviving highs and lows and remaining resilient in failure. Revisiting the amazing, oh-so-familiar melodies will touch your heart and kill a few more hours on the couch.
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, was directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman with full cooperation of Ronstadt, who has Parkinson’s but is still active politically and sings just a little in the film, despite a deteriorating voice box. She narrates the doc, which takes you back to the 70s and reminds you of how much she battled to get to the top. A feminist with vision and other worldly talent; here is a recent interview she gave to The New Yorker. The doc is available streaming on Amazon Prime.
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart was directed by Frank Marshall, with cooperation from the family and includes interviews with current pop phenoms, such as Nick Jonas and Justin Timberlake. It’s so fun to watch. What I loved the most is that ultimately, it all comes down to brothers singing together and those primal bonds are captured – for better and for worse – and deepen our love. If you ever wondered why loving the Bee Gees went from routine to uncool (almost overnight), watch this film and remember the day that disco died. Available streaming on HBO.